2021 Entrepreneurship Challenge Has Mentorship Focus

Applications are now being accepted for the annual Meredith Social Entrepreneurship Challenge (MSEC), which has a focus on mentoring for 2021.

The MSEC is an annual venture idea competition with a special emphasis on societal needs. The competition is sponsored by the Meredith College School of Business and the Entrepreneurship Program. The challenge is open to any Meredith undergraduate or graduate student.

In addition to competing for cash prizes, participants will get feedback from entrepreneurs who will be serving as mentors.

“This year, with activities taking place virtually, we are scaling back the competition by selecting only five to seven semifinalist teams and providing each with a deeper level of mentorship,” said Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship Nathan Woolard. “Semifinalists will all be paired with a real entrepreneur based on their idea and the mentor’s skills.”

The MSEC requires students to think holistically about business models. The student teams will be able to work with their mentors, most of whom are Meredith alumnae, to refine their ideas and prepare for the “Shark Tank” style pitch competition.

Volunteer mentors and MSEC judges own large and small businesses that range from accountancy firms, retail shops, tourism companies, commercial and residential real estate agencies, interior design firms, and localized childcare centers.

“The competition provides an outlet for those students interested in starting a business to engage with those who have,” Woolard said. “Regardless of who wins the competition, each student group that enters the competition will get real feedback from women entrepreneurs.”

Mentoring from successful entrepreneurs is a valuable opportunity for a potential business owner.

“Mistakes in business often equal money. Mentors, specifically those who have experience starting and running businesses, can help our students anticipate mistakes before they make them while further discovering the opportunity and costs,” said Woolard.

Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, February 18. Semifinalists will be notified on February 26, and connected with their mentors the week of March 1. The virtual pitch competition will take place in early April.

Access more information, including the link to apply, on the School of Business website.

Have questions? Contact Nathan Woolard at for more information.

Melyssa Allen

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